Throughout my days as an athlete- from middle school track all the way through being a DII collegiate track athlete at Azusa Pacific University- I never had to think about why I worked out. It was ingrained: I worked out to become a better athlete, and to improve my performance.
But once I retired, and emerged into normal human life- all of that direction and purpose that was once tied to fitness, flew out the window.
The new big question was: Why should I workout? Because I know I should? Because it’s good for me? That really wasn’t enough to keep me going.
Now I’m in a way better place, and I want to share with you how I have finally arrived with a fresh look at fitness, with new motivation, and direction! There were 4 major steps that I took to get myself out of my slump, and prep for success that you should know about!
STEP #1) FIND YOUR PURPOSE
Why do you exercise? Or better yet, why do you want to? These might be things you’ve never explicitly defined, but bringing this meaning to your workouts will mold and shape your motivation, your goals, and your training.
So let’s do it! I’m serious, sit down and define your purpose right here and right now.
Complete this sentence: I workout because________________________.
Having trouble coming up with anything? I’ll use myself as an example to give your brain a warm up.
I workout because….
I want to live a long, active, and balanced life
I want to protect myself from preventable disease
I want to feel confident about my body
it makes me feel good
I like being able to do active things with my friends and family- 5Ks, half marathons, hikes, bike rides
I’m a foodie at heart, and I want to be able to eat mac & cheese every now and again and not feel guilty about it
These things are all very important to me, and because they’re important, fitness suddenly becomes more important. If I leave exercise on the back burner for a week or two, more likely than not these things push me to workout again- they keep me self-motivated.
#2) CREATE A VISION
Once you’ve figured out your purpose, it’s time to create a vision. Forming that vision may require some self reflection. Take some time to write down your answers to the following two questions.
Where are you now?
Where would you like to be?
To use myself as an example:
I am working out on average 3 times a week for 25 minutes at a vigorous intensity.
My vision, is a faster, stronger, fitter version of myself.
#3) SET SOME GOALS
Now that you have your purpose, and a vision, some sense of direction should be starting to unfold! You may notice that making your vision a reality will require specific action or change on your part. Setting some goals will help provide you with that specific direction you need to take to make your vision a reality.
A great method for setting goals is using SMART to check your goals. Checking your goals with these five criteria allows you to ensure the goals you’re setting are good goals.
Specific: A goal must be specific, so that anyone could understand the goal. For example, don’t just commit to being ‘more fit’, perhaps commit to adding in one more exercise session per week.
Measurable: The goal should be quantifiable. For example don’t just say I want to lose weight. Define, I want to lose 15 pounds.
Attainable: Your goal should be a challenge but not too extreme. Do you want to be faster? That’s great, but don’t just assume because Usain Bolt ran a 9.58 100 meter dash that with enough training you can too- most likely not attainable.
Relevant: Your goal must be something that you are both willing and able to work towards. If you’re not sold on it, don’t make it your goal.
Timely: Create a specific date of completion to strive for. For example, don’t just say you want to lose 10 pounds, instead define when you are going to achieve that by, and hold yourself to it.
Once you know what you want to accomplish, it makes the final steps of preparation so much easier! After this has been squared away, you're ready to think through your game plan. What is exactly are you going to have to do to accomplish your goals? Check out my next blog How to Make Your (Fitness) Dreams a Reality (Part 2).
Let's get fit,
PK Fitness Program Coordinator